U.S. under-17 men
Adu's doesn't disappoint in debut, leading 3-0 victory over Jamaica in opening qualifier.
GUATEMALA CITY (Wednesday, March 5, 2003) -- In his much-anticipated international debut, 13-year-old striker Freddy Adu helped set up first half goals by midfielders Corey Ashe and John DiRaimondo, then scored a classy one himself in injury time, leading the United States to a 3-0 triumph over Jamaica in the Group A opener of the CONCACAF Under-17 Men's Qualifying Tournament.
In this four-nation round robin, the U.S. next faces El Salvador Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) before concluding play against Guatemala Sunday at 2 p.m. Tonight, Guatemala and El Salvador fought to a 2-2 draw in the second game of a doubleheader.
The winner of Group A, as well as the first-place finisher of Group B (Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Costa Rica), qualify for August's world championship tournament in Finland. The second-place finishers from each group meet in a home-and-away two-game series to determine the region's third representative at the world championship.
"It's great any time you come out of the first match with three points, " U.S. coach John Elllinger said. "We did some things well today, and we also have some areas where we can definitely improve. But the bottom line is we knew coming here that three wins would allow us to qualify, and tonight we put ourselves one step closer to Finland."
The U.S. defense stifled a Jamaica offense that had recorded 19 goals in six earlier qualifiers. The U.S. held a 18-8 shots advantage, 6-3 on frame.
In the fifth minute, Adu used a stepover move to beat a defender, carried to the end line and sent a cross to Ashe who steered the pass home with his first touch from six yards to make it 1-0.
Jamaica had no answer for Ashe's speed on the flank. He produced three other scoring chances in the first half, hitting the post once, forcing a great save from Jamaican goalkeeper Kerr Duwayne and just missing the target with another.
In the 37th minute, Adu sent a short corner kick to midfielder Guillermo Gonzalez who served a perfect ball in front of the goal. DiRaimondo rose unopposed from six yards out and gave goalkeeper Kerr Duwayne no chance to save his header. DiRaimondo's seventh international goal, second most on the U.S. side, increased the lead to 2-0.
"I was nervous going into the game, playing my first international game that really meant something," said Adu who became an American citizen on February 14. "But once the game got going, I just started playing and I settled into my normal game. I thought overall we played well, especially our defense. We shut them down. They didn't really create any dangerous chances. "
The U.S. defense locked down Jamaica which only managed shots from outside the box. It wasn't until two minutes into stoppage time that American keeper Phil Marfuggi was really tested, his diving save on a 30-yard free kick from midfielder Seon Giveans keeping a clean sheet.
The U.S quickly counterattacked and Adu raced into the box alone. Kerr did well to force Adu wide of the goal, but he cut back to center, slaloming through three Jamaican defenders and hammering a 12-yarder past Kerr.
Jamaica was reduced to 10 men in the 58th minute when defender Andrew Fraser was ejected with his second yellow card, this one for persistent infringement.
DiRaimondo and Adu received cautions, but new rules do not call for suspension unless a player gets three yellow cards in three games. Two years ago, a player who received yellows in his first two group games sat out the finale.
United States 3, Jamaica 0
Lineups: United States Phil Marfuggi, Kyle Helton, Jonathon Spector, Brandon Owens (captain), Adrian Chevannes, Brian Grazier, Corey Ashe, Guillermo Gonzalez (Daniel Szetela 79), John DiRaimondo, Freddy Adu, Eddie Gaven (Jamie Watson 84). Jamaica - Kerr Duwayne, Andrew Fraser, Richard Kentish (captain), Marlon Benbow, Keneil Moodie, Ricardo Cousins, Kemar Munroe, Seon Giveans, Phillip Hall (Bryan Bayliss 79), Steven Morrissey (Tristan Cunningham 74), Ricardo Ximinies (Miller Donovan 74).
Shots: United States 18, Jamaica 8. Saves: United States 2, Jamaica 3. Corner kicks: United States 5, Jamaica 2. Fouls: United States 20, Jamaica 10. Offside: United States 0, Jamaica 1. Yellow card cautions: United States - Adu 80, DiRaimondo 91+; Jamaica Fraser 10. Red card ejection: Jamaica - Fraser (second yellow card) 58.
Venues: Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala Weather: Cool, clear; 70 degrees